For the second straight year, Guy Baker will serve as consulting head coach to co-head coach Adam Krikorian. As head coach of the U.S. Women's National Team, Baker will be focusing his attention on helping the team qualify for the 2000 Olympics.
Baker, who is in his ninth year as director of the UCLA water polo program, has consistently guided the Bruin men and women to a level of collegiate water polo excellence. From 1995 to 1999, Baker has guided six Bruin teams to national championships. Since women's water polo became a varsity sport in 1995, he has earned a national title every year in at least men's or women's water polo. Under Baker's leadership, UCLA became the first water polo program to win men's and women's national championships in the same academic year, a feat the Bruins accomplished two years in a row (1995-96 and 1996-97). Baker's teams comprise the first UCLA program to win national men's and women's titles in consecutive academic years since volleyball in the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons.
Baker's coaching success at UCLA has led him to opportunities on the international water polo scene. In March of 1992, he was named an assistant on the USA Olympic water polo team. Baker gained additional international coaching experience in 1998, when he was named head coach for the U.S. Women's National Team, only a year after he served as an assistant coach for the Men's U.S. National Team. In his first Olympic qualifying tournament as the Women's National Team head coach, Baker led the United States women to a fourth place finish at the July '98 Dutch Trophy Tournament in Holland. The U.S. made a strong showing with wins over international powers Hungary, Italy and eventual champion Australia.
In women's water polo, "three-peat" was the key word for Baker's 1998 UCLA women's team, as the Bruins captured a third consecutive National Collegiate Championship. For the second year in a row, Baker took home National Coach of the Year honors, and junior Coralie Simmons took home the National Player of the Year title once again. Under Baker's leadership, UCLA also placed six players on the All-America teams. The Bruins lost only one game throughout the season and added another MPSF Championship to their collection. UCLA was 35-1 overall and 8-0 in conference action, increasing its three-year record to an astounding 95-3. Throughout the season, UCLA dominated its opponents, outscoring them 451-106. In the National Collegiate Tournament, UCLA pounded its opponents 43-12. While UCLA scored in double digits for a record high 30 games, its opponents never tallied more than nine goals in a game. The 1998 squad also posted a record high three shutouts.
The 1997 UCLA women's water polo team was a crucial part of Baker's dynasty, bringing home a second collegiate national championship in the program's third year. The Bruins amassed a 31-1 record, were undefeated at 6-0 in conference play and finished the season with a 29-game win streak. Simmons was named National Player of the Year, and Baker took home the National Coach of the Year honors. Five Bruins were named All-American in the '97 season, with Simmons and Nicolle Payne on the first team.
In 1996, only the second year of women's water polo existence, Baker led the Bruins to their first national title and earned MPSF Southern Division Coach of the Year honors. UCLA lost only one game that season, finishing 29-1. The Bruins outscored their five opponents 50-13 in the National Championships and easily handed California an 8-4 defeat in the championship game. Four of Baker's players earned 1996 All-American honors, including goalie Payne, who claimed Player of the Year honors.
In his women's water polo coaching debut, Baker's 1995 squad posted a 13-11 overall record and placed fifth nationally. Goalie Payne and driver Stephanie Natcher earned All-American honors while being named to the Collegiate Championships All-Tournament team.
In men's water polo, Baker added to his national championship collection when he notched his sixth in 1999, ending the season with a 22-3 record and a perfect 8-0 mark in conference play. The 1998 team finished the season with a 17-6 overall record. In 1997 UCLA men's team finished sixth in the nation despite losing nine veteran players from the '95 and '96 championship teams. UCLA put together a 14-12 season, and split its eight conference matches. "The Fabulous Baker Boys" won a second consecutive NCAA title in 1996, recording a 24-6 overall record, 6-2 in MPSF action. Baker was honored with the Coach of the Year award for the second consecutive season. In 1995, the UCLA men ended a storybook season by winning their fourth NCAA Championship and first in 23 years. Baker collected his second Coach of the Year award, amassing a 20-6 overall record and a perfect 8-0 MPSF mark. From 1991 to 1994, Baker consistently guided the men's teams to winning records. During his first season at UCLA in 1991, Baker led the Bruins to a second-place NCAA finish and was named the NCAA Coach of the Year.
Baker arrived on the Westwood campus in June 1991 after serving as an assistant coach at Long Beach State from 1985-90. A 1987 graduate of Long Beach State, Baker, 38, earned All-American honors as a member of the 1983 Long Beach State team. He enjoys reading and spending time with his two daughters, Samantha (nine) and Christen (six), and fiance Michelle Pickering. Baker currently resides in Long Beach.